Iowa scientific research dollars at risk - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa scientific research dollars at risk

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

A federal budget stalemate could impact important scientific research dollars that fund work right here in Iowa.  If Congress fails to agree on a new budget deal, the National Institutes for Health will undergo an eight percent cut next year.  And that's a major concern to University of Iowa researchers who rely on NIH funding to do what's potentially life-saving work

Last year alone, the National Institutes for Health supplied the U of I with almost half of the $466 million in grant funding that pays for research.  It's work that could unlock answers to what causes one of the most common medical problems Americans face.

"Every third American will die of heart disease in one form or another.  And the NIH, National Institutes for Health, has really been supporting biomedical science and certainly research on cardiovascular disease over the last decades," said Dr. Isabella Grumbach, University of Iowa researcher and assistant professor of medicine.

An eight percent funding drop could threaten research progress, recruiting new scientists to the field, and ultimately jobs.

"The NIH directly funds about 5,000 positions in science in Iowa.  And we're worried with a cut rate of eight percent, we will lose funding even more and we will probably lose some of our great scientists," said Dr. Grumbach.

And those federal dollars end up reverberating throughout the state.  For every dollar spent on research, it's estimated two dollars goes back into the community, through consumer spending and by creating spin-off medical businesses.

And the possible funding cuts come at a time when the University is constructing a brand new $122 million research facility, which aims to be a key component of the University's future research efforts.

So now Dr. Grumbach is on a mission.  She's heading to Washington, D.C. to fight for research funding to keep supporting that work.

Dr. Grumbach says her department has already endured significant federal funding cuts over the last few years.  So she's worried that more cuts could put the US further behind in the race to make medical breakthroughs and discover new treatments for serious diseases.

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